Missed criterias, clothing bans, triple punishment and vanishing spray

The International  Football Association Board (IFAB), the lawmaking body tasked with authorizing changes and amendments to the Laws of the Game, convened for its 125th Annual General Meeting in March 2011, in Wales.  Their rule changes sanctioned will come law on 1 July 2011. Up for consideration were some of the following vexing issues:

Goal Line Technology:  

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter announced that none of the ten companies which had been invited to test their technology had so far been successful in meeting the specific criteria set out by the IFAB meeting on October 20, 2010. IFAB therefore agreed to a one-year extension of Goal Line Technology tests. Blatter explained:

If you have no system which is responding to the criteria that has been fixed by this entity, you cannot just jump in.

We must first have the answer to our basic principles – accuracy, speed – which means the immediate delivery of the result – and a system that is not too complicated to implement. And we haven’t achieved these three things so far with our independent laboratory.

Therefore, it is a question of one year. What is one year? It is nothing. Just a little bit of patience is needed. But it was a very positive approach in the meeting …. and there was not one single person there, despite the fact that we had a lot of special guests today, going against the tests.

The ten systems all had to demonstrate they were 100% accurate and that they could transmit the result of a goal being scored, or not, to the referee within a second. Blatter said the issue of Goal Line Technology would be brought back to the attention of IFAB next meeting – March 2012, in London – when a final decision will be taken.

Chuck Blazer

FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, one of the body’s delegates to IFAB and General Secretary of CONCACAF said:

“It has got to be reliable, quick and affordable and nothing has worked at the moment. If anyone can meet that criteria I continue to be open to it. I don’t have a problem with keeping the testing open until we get something that works.”

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke mentioned that the world governing body are “ready to pay”  for further goal line technology tests. The goal-line system developed by a British company, Hawk-Eye, was not one of the tested systems. FIFA has given the British company the assurances that they are still under consideration.

Hawk-Eye, the most established technology, having already conducted stadium testing at Reading in England, declined even to take part in FIFA’s experiment prior to the 125th AGM, apparently in anticipation of the difficult testing environment. Their version of the specific technology needed a stadium environment for their cameras. Hawk-Eye remains confident its system would pass Fifa’s tests – the company is in the process of being taken over by a larger company and it will be eager that IFAB will give them some  guarantees that IFAB will want to continue with goal line technology in the future.

The ten technology Companies had only a few months to attain Fifa’s criteria of 100% accuracy and relaying results back to the officials with speed – and it proved too difficult a task for them.

IFAB is made up of representatives from each of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland’s FAs, plus FIFA, the international governing body for football. Each UK association has one vote and FIFA has four. IFAB deliberations must be approved by three-quarters of the vote, which translates to at least six votes. FIFA’s approval is necessary for any IFAB decision, but FIFA alone cannot change the laws of the game and requires the support of at least two of the UK members.

The Welsh and Northern Irish Football Associations, which until now had backed FIFA in opposing any goal line technology, about turned their stance and are now also leaning towards supporting more tests on goal-line systems.

Fifa has announced a timetable for goal-line technology during 2011. Companies, interested in presenting their goal-line systems, need to declare their interest before 3 June 2011 to Fifa headquarters in Zurich and have to formally apply one month later with a $20,000 registration fee.

Germany's GK, Neuer, fails to save England's shot by Lampard in World Cup 2010, a catalyst for FIFA to re-evaluate their stance on goal-line technology.

Presented systems will be tested during the first phase between September and December 2011, and all systems reporting a 90% or higher accuracy in simulated match conditions would be invited back for the second phase of testing, being conducted between March and June 2012. The second phase will be more rigorous, entailing the evaluation of the qualified systems under different weather conditions, shock resistance, immunity to electronic interference and under different types of playing surfaces. Trails will be held behind closed doors and manufacturers can choose their preferred stadium for conducting such tests.

Ben Buckley, GM of the Australian Football Federation, offered his federation's services as guinea pig for FIFA's goal-line technology tests.

Australia’s Ben Buckley has already offered Fifa his willingness to help out evaluating and testing goal-line technology within the Australian Football Federation. Said Buckley in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph:

“We believe the infrastructure of the [A] League is of high enough quality to give it a meaningful trial. [Australia] took the initiative on using video technology to penalize simulation retrospectively, and pleasingly you now see very, very little of that in our game. Everyone wants to see the correct decisions made by the officials, and this seems to be a way of supporting them in that.” 

AAR’s during the EURO 2012: 

Europe’s (EUFA) president, Michel Platini, wants extra officials behind each goal line instead of technology. (Getty Images)

A presentation was also made to IFAB on the use of  Additional Assistant Referees (AAR’s) behind each goal line and IFAB approved  the continued experimentation thereof in the  EUFA Leagues and sanctioned it for the upcoming European Cup, EURO 2012, to be held in Poland and Ukraine.

Vanishing spray: 

The English Football Association (FA) asked IFAB to consider the use of ‘vanishing spray.’  The usage of coloured vanishing  spray is common practice in Brazil and South America where officials use a spray on the grass to prevent the defensive wall encroaching on the 10-yard gap at free-kicks. The spray evaporates after a minute. The small canisters of spray are carried by referees in velcro clasps during matches. The CONMEBOL football federation was granted approval to trial the use of vanishing spray in their football associations.

Law 12 – Fouls and Misconduct : ‘DOGSO’s ‘Triple punishment’: 

The punishment of players, when send off for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity, coupled with a penalty kick if this occurs in their own 18-yard area, as well as the follow-on administrative expulsion – guilty players may have to sit follow-on matches out due to specific league rules with regard to red cards offenses) was discussed. IFAB ruled that this issue, as well as the possible usage of radio communication  in the technical area should be postponed and referred them both to FIFA’s Task Force Football 2014 team.

Snoods, Undergarments and Performance clothing  worn underneath playing kit: 

IFAB ruled neck warming scarfs (snoods) are not permitted as from 1 July 2011

Snoods, or neck warming scarfs and/or hoods, are to be outlawed as from 1 July 2011 under Law 4 – Player’s Equipment. IFAB also clarified and re-iterated that the colour of  the increasing popular usage of performance clothing (leg tights or baselayers), if worn, must match the colour of a player’s shorts.   //